The chip market could be heading towards a period of mass consolidation with Intel weighing a range of acquisition options, including a bid for Broadcom, which is itself looking at Qualcomm, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In February, Qualcomm's board of directors unanimously rejected Broadcom's monster $121bn (£87bn) bid for the chip maker.
Qualcomm rejected an initial $103bn bid from its rival in November, and the improved offer was then met with equal uninterest, with the Qualcomm board branding it "inadequate".
Despite the door seemingly slamming on what would have been the biggest tech merger ever, Qualcomm did ask for its rival's potential highest bid, suggesting the deal was not yet dead.
Meanwhile Intel, presumably monitoring any deal that could reshape the chip market, has started to ponder its own acquisition strategy, with Broadcom itself a potential target, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The paper also speculated that Intel's acquisition plans around Broadcom could be motivated by its fears of the major market player a Broadcom-Qualcomm merger would create.
The combined player would create a powerhouse in smartphones and datacentres, both areas Intel has ear-marked for future growth.
Qualcomm's own proposed purchase of Dutch automotive chip specialist NXP Semiconductors NV would also strengthen its presence in the automotive market, another area where Intel has placed strong focus.
Former head of Macintosh products Jean-Louis Gassée speculated that Intel belatedly realised it needed a seat at the smartphone table.
"Despite troubles with its more advanced manufacturing processes, the company managed to supply some wireless modems for the iPhone 7, 8 and X. Ironically, the alliance was aided by a long-standing and bitter intellectual property dispute between Apple and Qualcomm. If Broadcom's acquisition of Qualcomm proceeds, the dispute with Apple could disappear," said Gassée.
"If the dispute is settled, Intel loses its wireless modems deal with Apple. No mobile CPUs plus no modems equals nothing of substance. Broadcom would be in charge - it would hold all the cards. Is it any wonder that Intel wants to find ways to scupper the deal?" Gassée added.
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